Van Buren announced defensive coordinator Moe Henry as the new Pointers football coach Friday, elevating a Gus Malzahn disciple that has mixed emotions.
“I came to Van Buren because of Crosby Tuck,” Henry said. “He invited me down here when he became the head coach and just really loved the things that he was doing and being with him. So the fact of being the head coach is exciting but the fact of losing him as a colleague hits emotionally as well.”
While specifics on Tuck’s next position has not been released, the former Pointers coach will not be coaching at another school but will be entering a new profession in what Henry called a “peaceful departure.”
Henry became the DC in 2019 for coach Crosby Tuck’s first season and the Pointers have gone 14-19, with a 37-14 victory over Jonesboro in 2020 being the Pointers one playoff win in three tries during that period.
After improvement from 3-8 in 2018 to 6-5 during their debut season, the first winning season since 2010, the program has been 8-14 overall and 2-12 in the 6A West over the last two seasons.
The defense has allowed an average of 32.6 points over those last three seasons, although that first season’s 27.9 was a drop from 2018’s 35.6 in the turnaround. Additionally, the injury to starting quarterback Bryce Perkins in game five of 2021 impacted a team that began 4-0 but lost the last six.
Prior to 2018, Van Buren went 0-10 in 2017 and from 2015-17, went a combined 4-26. The Pointers have won four state championships, the last being in 1996.
Before coaching, Henry was a four-sport all-state athlete at Nashville High and was a four-year starter in football at Arkansas Tech from 1996-1999. The defensive back had seven tackles in the Wonder Boys’ 20-17 overtime win over Southern Arkansas to clinch the 1999 Gulf South Conference title.
Henry holds a degree in kinesiology from the University of Arkansas and began coaching at Springdale from 2002-2011, which included the 2005 state championship team led by Malzahn and quarterbacked by USA Today, Parade and Gatorade National Player of the Year Mitch Mustain. Henry was also the track and field coach while at Springdale.
From 2011-2019, Henry worked at Shiloh Christian, where he also served as baseball coach in the 2014-2019 seasons, winning the 2016 4A state championship and finishing runner-up in the next three campaigns.
The new coach felt “honored” and “humbled” when Van Buren School District superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat offered him the position without conducting an application or interview process prior to making this decision.
Henry will continue to run a base 3-3 stack defense that is adaptable depending on the opponent. With Crosby being an offensive-minded coach, the offensive coaching situation is still being decided.
You can follow Bryant Roche on Twitter @BRocheSports and you can email him at [email protected]